Babbs in the Woods: They’ll take your swim trunks, underpants and bikini bottoms … but not an air bed

Really, are you kidding me, Walmart? You won’t take back an unopened air mattress in a box? The one I bought for Baby Boy for hunting season last week that he did not need so we did not open?

I tried to return a Coleman air mattress, unopened, in the box today at Walmart. And got this …

Walmart: Sorry, but our policy in the outdoor department on air mattresses is that you cannot return it for credit or cash back. You can exchange it though.

Me: Really? OK, so I can go and get an oil filter and a few groceries and bring them back here, or what?

Walmart: No, you have to exchange it for another air mattress.

Me: You’re kidding!

Walmart: No, that’s the policy.

Me: You mean I can only exchange this twin air mattress for another air mattress?

Walmart: Yes. But, you could get a bigger air mattress!

Me: You mean I can bring back a swimsuit (as long as I don’t peel off the panty liner thing) and underwear, but not a sealed-up, unopened air mattress in a box?

Walmart: Yes.

OK, now what sense does that make? I could have traded in one air mattress that I didn’t need for another one? Or, that I can take back a swimsuit that I bought in South Dakota at a Walmart because it was the only store with swimsuits that was still open at 10 p.m., only to find out that the Jacuzzi at the motel closed at 10 p.m. Typically, that’s my luck, so I just took the suit back a week later.

I don’t even think they checked to see if the panty liner was still attached. And even if it was … there are ways to reattach those things, and frankly, if you opened the dang box with the air mattress in it, blew it up, slept on it, deflated it and then found that super sticky glue stuff they use to close the boxes in the first place, it would be obvious. Or, dang if I know how to get an air mattress deflated and back into pristine condition to stuff it back in the box anyway. They never completely deflate, do they?

So, I have a Coleman twin-sized air mattress for sale. Or, I may exchange it for some ammo and an oil filter, if you have the right load and size.



  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at


The Conversation

  • Women's Outdoor News says: December 7, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Deb Ferns: I took your advice and took the unopened air mattress to a different Walmart. The women at the service desk agreed that it was good I didn’t have to use it, and took it back, no questions asked. So, yes, different Walmarts must have different policies.
    Deb Flanigan: Wow. Who’d a thunk it? I just don’t get the exchange thing. People must have still slept on the mattress in order to know they don’t like it?
    Katherine: I agree. Lysol?
    Beth N.: Ditto. Since you live in a “nuclear free” city (did you know that?), I imagine you cannot return an air mattress there either.

  • Beth N says: December 3, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Wow…that’s ridiculous.

  • Katherine Browne says: December 3, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I would have never known. I don’t hink I’ll buy a swim suit at Walmart now though. At least I won’t waer it without running it through the wash a few times.

  • Debbie Flanigan says: December 3, 2010 at 6:02 am

    Yep, I knew about the Walmart policy. I was in line at the customer service desk years ago right after Christmas and you would not believe the numbers of air mattresses that were being returned. Every other shopping cart in that long line seemed to have a big boxed air mattress to return. Never owning one, I thought Walmart must have had a defective batch of them, until I heard the clerks state the policy over and over. Apparently that is a purchase that has a very high return rate, and often used just once, for the occasion it was purchased. Seems strange, I know, to not allow their return, but the purchase/return numbers may have dictated the policy or perhaps the state regulations. Here in PA, regular mattresses can not be returned, only exchanged. Air mattresses just might come under the same law.

  • Deb Ferns says: December 2, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Bring that dang air mattress to our camp in Tucson Barb! I just took two of them (also unopened) that we didn’t need for the last camp back today – no problem. And let’s agree never to talk about bathing suits being returned again (okay?)

  • tracey says: December 2, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    WHAT!? Craziness. Put it on craigslist or try returning it to a different Walmart. And – that swimsuit was really cute! You totally should have kept it 😉